Friday, November 11, 2011

Hannah Miranda - Wrapping up Conference Play


This past Saturday the volleyball team had its last home game of the year against Kennesaw State. This game was also our Senior Day, honoring the three seniors on our team: Lexi Adams, Channing Salava, and Maggie Johnson. It was really nice to be able to honor the seniors and all that they have done for our program. They are three amazing girls that will be sincerely missed next year. Winning the match made it especially good day for the team and the seniors. This upcoming weekend we will be wrapping up the end of our regular season with games against UC Upstate tonight and ETSU on Saturday. We are currently 9-2 in conference, putting us in second place behind Lipscomb.

We are in a really good place to end regular season and head into the tournament.
We are taking it one game at a time and trying not to look too far ahead. Our focus for the next week is not on the conference tournament but the two games before that. We are all excited for the closing of our regular season and working hard to end on a high note.

- Hannah Miranda

Friday, November 4, 2011

Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson - A-Sun Championships

Men's Cross Country

Last weekend we competed in the Atlantic Sun Cross Country Conference Championship which has been the focus of much of our seasons training – it was even more important to me as it was my first conference championship at Belmont. We had the advantage of competing on our home course at Vaughn’s Gap in Percy Warner Park, which we had previously run two races on this season as well as numerous training sessions. On Friday we met as a team for a meal and to discuss race tactics. We also heard an inspirational talk from former individual and team champion Brad Polly. On Saturday the weather was cold, but clear, and a huge improvement from the 95 degree day of our first race of the season.

On the start line the whole team was excited because of comments made by the Lipscomb team, which motivated us even more to beat our closest rivals. The gun went off and I quickly moved into position with teammates Brandon, Josh, and Kurtis. Before the race we planned to run the first 1.5 - 2 miles conservatively and then pick up the pace to finish strong and use our knowledge of the course to our advantage. After the first 800m we built the “demoralizing wall” which involved the four of us running shoulder to shoulder and forcing anyone who wanted to pass us to move all the way around while crushing the spirit of the people we ourselves passed. As a group we started to move up the field, passing those who had started out too fast on Sideways Hill (named because of its awkward gradient). Coming past the crowd on the second lap felt great and it definitely made a big difference having so many Belmont supporters there. By the third mile Josh Helton had made an impressive move forward which eventually secured him 14th place and Atlantic Sun Second-Team Honors. With just over a mile to go, Brandon Mahaney was 10 seconds ahead of me and I knew that it was important that I closed the gap so that we could work together over the final part of the course. At the 1,000m mark I caught up with Brandon and we worked together to finish strongly in the home stretch and gain a number of vital points.

The whole team put 100% effort into the race and there were some great individual performances, especially by Matt Miller who continued his impressive form to take 4th place and earn Atlantic Sun First-Team Honors! Unfortunately, despite our hard efforts we were beaten by a better team on the day, which although disappointing, will motivate us more for our next race as well as our next season. The team heads to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the NCAA regional championships on November 12.

- Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson

Monday, October 17, 2011

Josh Helton - A Weekend in Evansville

Cross Country

We just returned from the ever-so-exciting city of Evansville, Indiana where we raced the Evansville Invitational. Brisk, cool temperatures were present at race time but so were heavy winds and a daunting, unforgiving cross country course. We basically ran three laps on consistent, rolling hills with about 15-20 sharp turns per lap. This totaled up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) and left me and a few teammates in pain and agony. Matt Miller, a mere mortal and BU's top runner, led the way again with a solid 4th-place overall finish. I had a double take during the race when I looked up and saw Matt 15 meters out in front of the ENTIRE field! He has no fear and keeps all of us inspired

I was in the top-10 . . . for about the first mile. However, my hopes were renewed when I heard teammate Brandon "Man"haney coming up behind me. We have a signature move entitled "The Hand of Fury." In this particular situation, here's how it played out: I extend my left arm backwards, and Brandon desperately lunges forward, grabs it and I swing him up as hard as I can. It gives a physical boost to the person being thrown, and it boosts both of us mentally to know we are there for each other. He continued cruising and eventually I found him about a whole 200-300 meters ahead of me! As we came up on the last half-mile, I kicked on the afterburners and chased him down, managing to beat him by a couple seconds. This healthy rivalry has been going on since our sophomore years of high school, and it continues to get more intense every race. This time I was rewarded for my efforts: they gave the top-25 finishers really high-quality t-shirts, and guess what place yours truly finished? Yep - 25th. Sorry B-Mah.

Three of our top-7 runners didn't compete (Erick Kigen, Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson, and Evan Scruton). Our conference meet is in two weeks time, so we did not want to risk any greater injury to these guys. Kyle Sullinger is coming back strong, though, after a tough past year of medical problems. Sullinger would have been a top-3 runner on our team but has been plagued by illness. He is finally getting back into prime shape, which is really exciting for all of us.

Quote of the trip: Coach asked newcomer Kurtis Gibson about his thoughts on the course. In his cute, British accent, he replied, "Well, it is a bit twisty." You heard it here first!

- Josh Helton

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hannah Miranda - Heading Back Home


This past weekend the volleyball team traveled to New Orleans to play in the Kathy Trosclair Memorial Tournament at Tulane University. It was an exciting trip for all of us because it marked our last non-conference matches. It was especially exciting for me because I was able to go back home. New Orleans is only forty minutes away from my hometown of Covington, Louisiana so I had a unique opportunity to play in familiar settings. The whole team was able to go to my house in between matches on Friday to eat a nice big lunch which consisted of some well known southern dishes; our favorite being corn grits. That was a very fun moment to have the team at my home hanging out with my whole family. It was extra special being able to have my parents, sisters, nieces, and aunts come to our games and create a huge cheering section for us.

One of the most memorable parts about our trip was playing Tulane. It was a unique match for me because one of my former club teammates, Cori Martone, plays for Tulane. It is very weird competing against someone that you yourself used to compete with, but it was a good match to win. We got to catch up a little afterwards, which was a little awkward considering we had just beaten them, but it was really nice at the same time. We ended up winning the tournament and going 3-0 for the weekend. It was a surreal feeling to get to play in front of my teammates from high school and other people that would normally not have to opportunity to see me play again. I am very thankful that I was able to experience that and to win made the whole thing even better.

- Hannah Miranda